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Food: Abigail’s Party

January 30, 2007

‘Twas Father’s birthday a couple of days ago, and to celebrate, as we always do, we decided to take advantage of Vancouver’s Dine Out celebration of quality nibblies. For thi particular gastronomic experience, we picked “Abigail’s Party” – First on the dine out list ’cause of their name, with a fantastic looking menu on their Dine Out space, they were a hands-down pick in my books.

They lived up to my expectations completely. We had almost everything on their Dine Out menu between the three of us.

For appetisers, Father had the Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Cinnamon Creme Fraiche, which was fabulous, but a little too sweet for my taste – the squash had been carefully caramelized before being soup-ized, and I found it left it just a bit richer than I woulda enjoyed. But I’m not a soup person, so… Just as well. Mother had the Mixed Organic Mesclun Greens with Toasted Almonds, Dried Cranberries and a Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette … It was salad. A good salad, but salad nonetheless. They all seem the same to me. She loved it. I had the Classic Basil Pesto Bruschetta with Camembert. I was a little disappointed when it arrived, it was kinda small looking and there was no tomato in there. I know there wasn’t tomato on the menu, but I kinda associate bruscetta and tomato. But, working past that, it was splendid. The pesto was just right, without being too strong or too stong on the pine nuts. The bread was perfect fried/baked, and the cheese was melted to the just-so point. Served with a balsamic reduction, it could have been a high point of the meal.

But the entrees kinda topped it. They showed up promptly after finishing our appetisers, after the exact etiquette approved 3-minuite rest period between courses, our entrees arrived. Father had the Blackened Mahi Mahi, Gnocci with Arugula, Nicoise Olives and Roasted Red Pepper. I grabbed a bit of his fish, and it seemed a little dry to me, but apparently that’s how Mahi Mahi are. It was done with an excellent cajun spice, that was quite smoothly hot, without being sharply peppry. I failed to steal a gnocci, and regret that now. Mother got the Portobello Mushroom Ravioli with Fresh Tomato & Cream Sauce, Roma Tomatoes and Fresh Basil, which was as good as it sounds. Served in a creamy white sauce, totally brimming with flavour… I was a little disappointed that the mushroom flavours were a little lost in all that fresh basil and roma tomoto and sauce, but I got over it pretty fast. For myself, I had the Flat Iron Steak & Guinness Pie with Sweet Potato Pommes Frites. It was unquestionably brilliant. I found that the presentation of the pie part was a little lacking – the pastry was a little underdone, and could have used more Golden Brown, but it tasted splendid. The meat part simply filled the rest of the pasta bowl, with the sweet potato fries on top. It was, in my opinion, excellent, but I could see it becoming an aquired taste, it was done in a fairly classic beer-based gravy, with an unusual strong smokey overtone. Not everyone likes smoky flavours, I do. It was, in my mind, a work of art. Everything was perfectly balanced, there was nothing in there that overpowered anything else, or that I could not taste.

For dessert, Mother ordered the Amaretto & Dark Callebaut Chocolate Mousse, which was a far stronger, more cocoa based chocolate than I expected, but wonderful anyway. I would get it if I went back and they didn’t have the dessert I got. Father and I both ordered the Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee. It was good. Creme brulee is pretty dependable that way. I’m pretty sure that I make a better one, but it’s less work when ordered from a restraunt, so… I’m willing to be forgiving. I was, however, impressed at his sugar topping. I discovered that that was the hardest part, to my suprise, while making them. And he got it just-so, with an unusually thick layer of caramel on top. I think I may have to copy this next time I make any.

In short, go there. Really. Their non Dine Out menu looked as good or better, and roughly similar prices to Dine out – you’d likely spend $30/person for dinner on their regular menu rather than $25. Not a huge difference, but the Dine Out was really just an excuse to try new places. The only other thing to add is that their wines are excellent. Mother & Father both had menu recommendations, (Golden Mile Chardonnay, 2004 – Oliver, BC, and Thornhaven Barrel Reserve Pinot Noir, 2005 – Okanagan Valley, BC, respectively.), I veered off course of that and had an excellent Spanish somthing that isn’t on their online wine list, but was a much stronger, and slightly drier flavour than Pinot Noir, which I find a little thin to try and compare to any strong red meat.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 1, 2007 1:11 am

    i so want to go! i love the name!

  2. February 1, 2007 4:11 am

    I totally recommend it. And yes, the name certainly won me over as a first impression. I’d pictured somewhere brighter and more … feminine than what it was when we got there. Not that I was in any way disappointed by the decor.

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